Former charity CEO enters the Macnamara race as an independent

Ruby ORourke, independent candidate for Macnamara.

Joshua Benitez

Ruby O’Rourke, independent candidate for Macnamara.

A former ward of the state, a CEO, a mother, a youth rights activist and now a political hopeful, Ms Ruby O’Rourke has entered the race to become the next Macnamara representative in federal parliament.

“I am running for parliament because I don’t think the government is honest,” she said.

This inner metropolitan, bay area electorate runs from Williamston, past St Kilda to Glen Huntly.

Ms O’Rourke has lived in Macnamara for roughly 30 years. She said she has moved in and out of the electorate over the years but considers it home.

“I think I was able to hide here. I was able to just find my feet here and I think that’s because of the diversity our electorate has,” she said.

Before deciding to run for parliament, Ms O’Rourke had made a career helping children and championing their issues through her charity Healthy Australia.

Healthy Australia is a multifaceted charity organisation that has programs like Feed Australia, which aims to improve and support children nutrition in the early childhood sector. Healthy Australia is fully funded by the Australian Government.

Ms O’Rourke said she has resigned her position at Healthy Australia to run for parliament.

With her experience working for and with children, she has made child and youth rights the centre of her political campaign.

“If you care about the economy, vote for young people because they’ll make it fairer. If you care about the environment, vote for young people. If you care about education, vote for young people,” she said.

If elected, Ms O’Rourke wants to propose a Young People Rights Bill to parliament.

She said this bill “will force the government” to consider the long-term impacts of its decisions, on young people, beyond their political tenure and create accountability.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Independent candidate has a bag full of policies that she is eager to take to Canberra.

She said she also wants to put forward a Senior Rights Bill because she thinks that “seniors deserve our respect and they deserve our care” and a Transparency of Government Business Bill that focuses on making the transactions between government and businesses more transparent.

Ms O’Rourke strongly believes in government being accountable and open to the public.

She said she would like to see a Royal Commission applied to government with the same scope as the Royal Commission into the financial services industry.

“I think that government needs a shake up and I am the best person to push this,” she said.

Her policies also include ambitious plans to make the electorate of Macnamara a better place to live in.

Policies like improving support to the homeless, particularly homeless women over the age of 55, making Macnamara a cigarette butt free electorate and creating three mini forests to act as carbon sinks.

Her policies reflect her goal to make Macnamara an example for the rest of Australia.

“I would like Macnamara to lead the way of two things across the nation. I want it to be the healthiest place to raise a child in Australia, I want it to be the safest place to raise a child,” she said.

She also wants Macnamara “to lead Australia on human rights.”

Win or lose come May 18, Ms O’Rourke’s political aspirations will continue even after the last ballot has been counted.

She plans to create a political party of her own that will champion the issues she cares about.

“I think there’s something in the wind, despite winning or losing I’m going to set up a Young People’s Party after this and I would like it to global,” she said.

Although Ms O’Rourke has never voted before she said she wants people to vote for her because she has enough knowledge and experience “to take on the government.”

Ms O’Rourke plans to take her political campaign to the next level by cycling across Macnamara talking to the community and spreading her message.

She plans to do this until the election is over.